NO, NOT ME … Priyanka Gandhi scotches speculation she might be party president

NEW DELHI: Priyanka Gandhi has told the Congress leadership that she does not want to be the Congress president, a post her brother Rahul Gandhi has stepped out of two months ago, on July 25, two days after the Lok Sabha poll drubbing the party got at the national level.

The party leadership is looking up to mother Sonia Gandhi for guidance to end the impasse, but she is silence personified. Rahul Gandhi is away on a foreign trip, as he is used to now and then, and the AICC is caught in a state of virtual paralysis. Yet, the proof of Congress party’s existence in some shape emerged in occasional public comments from Sonia Gandhi, as in the RTI amendment bill in Parliament, and Rahul’s tweets about Karnataka political crisis. 

A notable moment was also when Priyanka Gandhi went to a UP village where 10 persons were shot down by a village gang in a land dispute case. She made some waves as the Yogi Adityanath government tried to stop her in her tracks, and detained her for a while, but Priyanka managed to accomplish her goal of meeting the families of the victims.

It was after this that there was a fresh buzz as to why Priyanka should not step into the President’s post as Rahul Gandhi was not willing to continue as party chief. An observation from former Union minister Natwar Singh, also a former Nehru family loyalist, was that Priyanka Gandhi can only save the Congress now. If there was Nehru family member to run the party, it would split in a few minutes’ time, he told the media. Quick came an observation from former BJP MP, Shatrughan Sinha, that Priyanka was the ideal choice for the party now. He had stook as a Congress candidate in Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency this time, but was humbled by Union minister for Law, Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Several names from outside the family had been floated around in recent weeks for the Congress president post. They were of Sushil Kumar Shinde from Maharashtra, Mallikarjun Kharge from Karnataka, Sachin Pilot from Rajasthan, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijay Singh from Madhya Pradesh, Captain Amardinder Singh from Punjab, and Mukul Wasnik from Maharashtra. The party’s rank and file were not enthused at the citing of these names, as none of them yet had a national appeal.

A view came that former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh should take charge, but in view of his advanced age, the matter was not pursued further. 

Notably, former Union minister for finance, Yashwant Sinha once commented cryptically, ” Dr Manmohan Singh is an over-rated economist and and under-rated politician.” What Sinha meant was that Singh has a few aces up his political sleeves, and is not a simple kind of politico. 

Singh eventually earned the reputation of a PM who completed two terms in the exalted post, full terms, matching also a reputation next only to what Jawaharlal Nehru enjoyed — of winning an election after a full five-year-term. IHN-NN

INDIA HERE AND NOW www.indiahereandnow.

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